Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Whitegates shop targeted for third time in hatchet robbery

A Newry shop owner suffered a horrific ordeal after his business was targeted for the third time in a matter of months – this time by a masked duo armed with a hatchet. 

Charles Armstrong, owner of the Vivo Shop at the Whitegates complex in the Meadow area of the city, was working in the local store around 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoon when two youths with their faces covered and one wielding a hatchet entered the premises and demanded cash from the till.

The quick thinking shop owner immediately activated the panic alarm causing the raiders to flee empty handed. 

Newry City councillor Charlie Casey, who visited Mr Armstrong along with his colleague, Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady after the attempted robbery,  described the incident as a “horrific ordeal”  for the shaken business owner.

“This is serious anti community criminal activity and those engaged in it should face the full rigors of the law,” said councillor Casey.

Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady called for anyone with information that will identify the perpetrators to contact police.

“Charles pointed out that this is the third time the shop has been targeted and it is having a negative impact on his business and in the area in general,” said Mr Brady. 

“He is supplying a community asset and creating local jobs but this anti-community activity is putting all of this in danger.

“Anyone with information about this criminal act should contact the PSNI”.

Earlier this year a man armed with a knife entered the Whitegates shop and threatened a member of staff before making off with a sum of cash.  The young staff member was uninjured but left badly shaken after the armed robbery. A similar incident followed just a month later.

Police have made no connection between the previous robberies and the latest incident. They described the men as wearing cream and dark coloured coats and had their faces covered by masks.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting serial 950.